In this How to clone your ESXi SD card for backup, I will explain how to clone your SD card(or USB) from your ESXi for backups purposes. If you don’t have a dual SD card controller, this is something handy for a quick restore of your system.
In my case, I have an 8Gb SD card on my HP server with vSphere 7 U3, but not only the SD card is small(recommendation is that we use at least 16Gb for vSphere 7) the SD card is showing some write/read issues. So it is better to replace now before a disaster happens.
So we can use this process not only for backups purposes but also to move your old SD Card 8Gb to a bigger one(at least 16Gb). If you are not planning to use local disks or other local devices, and if you still have 8Gb SD Cards, you should and must move to a 16Gb SD Card(or bigger).
For restore purposes, we know that installing and configuring an ESXi is a 30m/40m task, but sometimes we need to have a quicker option to restore your system and put it online again.
We need t to create a copy of our SD card first, then restore it to the new SD card. For this, I will use the open-source tool USB Image Tool. This is a small tool that will do the trick.
Insert your ESXi SD card in the card reader and launch the tool.
I will clone a vSphere 7.0 U3 SD Card installation.
As we can see in the following image, my SD Card is 8Gb and will replace with a 16Gb SD Card.
First, click the Backup option.
Select a path and name to save the file, and save it
Remove the source SD Card, and add the Destination SD Card.
Before you continue, go to options and enable the Fix GPT after Restore so that partition uses the original enumeration.
As we can see in the following image, I have now a 16Gb SD Card
Click the Restore option.
Select the file to restore
Confirm the restore, and that is it.
Your ESXi is now cloned, and you can save it for Restore in case of a disaster or replace your SD Card.
I have inserted the 16Gb SD Card in my Server and checked ESXi partitions.
As we can see in the above images, all is good and working, and even the extra space is shown as free space.
Note: I am still testing how to use/add that free space on the root partition. This new vSphere 7 partition layout works differently. It’s possible to select or change the size of the VMFSL on ESXi Install Boot, not after.
As we can see above, It is very straightforward How to clone your ESXi SD card for backup or to swap your SD Cards.
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